Fox clears expansion hurdle

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has dismissed a second lawsuit brought by local homeowner groups seeking to curtail Fox Inc.’s expansion plans in Century City. The suit was filed by Friends of Westwood and the Cheviot Hills and California Country Club Homeowners Assns. against the City of Los Angeles.

Fox is seeking to amend the current Century City South Specific Plan from residential use (meaning condominiums) to an expansion of its studio facilities on the 53-acre lot. Studio officials maintained the lawsuits are an effort to “slow down and confuse” the approval process for Fox’s development plans.

The homeowner groups responded by taking steps to bring the matter to the Court of Appeals, while accusing local politicians of playing “let’s make a deal with developers” and ignoring community concerns. The City of Beverly Hills is supporting homeowners in the action as a “friend of the court.”

The City of Los Angeles is preparing a final Environmental Impact Report and will hold public hearings once it’s completed. Fox is targeting approval of its expansion by the City Council by next spring and continues to say that it may be forced to move out of its Westside location if the plan is not approved.

That threat has earned the studio support from various chambers of commerce, who fear the impact of Fox leaving the area. According to Fox, the studio employs 2,400 people in Century City and would nearly double that level, to 4, 700, with its renovation and expansion. Fox also said it adds $ 3.7 billion annually to the local economy.

The latest suit dealt with Fox’s right to build over 2,000 high-rise condos on the lot should it be thwarted in its plans to add new studio facilities.

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